David Smith

My experience down the rabbit hole of shooting live music began during my years living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Being a college town, I had access to photographing a lot of local bands in a small and cramped space called Egan's Bar. It's the type of venue you have to walk through the band to get to the bathroom. It's also the type of venue that warns you of the thick smoke and loud music when you arrive. In other words, it's my type of place.

Some bands were good, some were band, but they all were part of a learning experience. I wouldn't trade that time for anything in the world.

By luck and good timing, I was able to photograph Alabama Shakes at that bar when they were still called The Shakes. An image from their first show at Egan's was used in a lot of their early press. One thing lead to another, more luck happened, and I've been able to progress into shooting national touring acts in the Birmingham, Alabama area as a contributor for Getty Images. I'm relatively new to the game, but I don't see me getting out of things any time soon. Live music photography keeps things fun for me, while wedding and portrait photography pays the bills.

I think I enjoy live music photography because, honestly, I can't tell what good music is. I'm completely tone deaf. However, I can tell when a band connects with the audience and has charisma, energy, and other important intangibles. That's what I always look for when I shoot a band. After all, you can't "hear" a photograph.

My main website (it's mostly my wedding, portrait, and travel photography work) can be found at My live music photography work can be found by visiting